The Peril of the Easy Life

By Pastor Doug Batchelor

An Amazing Fact: Multiple studies are finding a powerful link between “civilization diseases”—like diabetes, obesity, cancer, and cardiovascular issues—and the so-called “civilized” culture of developed countries, described as a highly stationary life of ease. This “easy” lifestyle consists primarily of addictive entertainment; desk jobs; and a diet of highly processed, refined fast foods.

It’s the life that everyone wants—or more accurately, the life they think they want. It’s a life that includes such terms as “same-day deliveries,” “binge-watching,” and “couch potato.” Ask a search engine, “What makes life easier?” You’ll get multiple lists promoting multiple products to purchase, all for the sake of convenience. Must-haves include robot vacuums, a self-grooming tool for your pets, even an automatic cocktail maker.

You’ll notice a trend. In today’s “civilized” world, what makes life easy is figuring out how to do everything with less effort and less time, or else not at all. Now, there’s certainly nothing wrong with being effective and efficient. Time management is a healthy—not to mention godly—principle. But that’s not all our modern-day society is directing us to do. What happens to all that extra time we saved?

According to a U.S. Department of Labor survey for 2021, Americans spend, on average, a solid 5.27 hours in daily leisure; the majority of those hours are spent watching television. To put this in perspective, the same survey reported an average of only 3.5 hours per day spent on work. Even more alarming is our youth, who “spend, on average, a whopping 7.5 hours in front of a screen for entertainment each day.” Other than sleep, leisure is the activity to which Americans devote the majority of their time.

Whatever You Want

We live in a society where apps spoon-feed content tailored to user preference; where candy bars are deliberately positioned for an impulse buy; where everywhere we turn, we are bombarded with the urge to indulge. How many have clicked on a video only to wonder two hours later where the time has gone? This type of life is not only being portrayed as beneficial for you; it’s practically being forced upon you. This is a life that nurtures instant gratification and aspires to complacency; it’s a life fueled by a single principle—selfishness. This is the world’s definition of the “easy” life: one that revolves around you, your wants, your ease.

But there’s a problem: Easy does not equal good. Not everything you want is good for you. A candy bar may go down smooth as silk, but all its sticky sweetness doesn’t do your health any favors.

And as ubiquitous as this “easy” way of life is, you can be sure that your spiritual life is not immune. Perhaps you’ve heard some of these popular teachings in Christianity:

Once you’re saved, you’re always saved.

You’re saved in your sins, not from your sins.

Everyone is going to be saved.

These are incredibly tempting teachings to swallow. According to these doctrines, anyone can live however he or she likes and still receive the reward of eternal life in paradise. At the heart is the same worldly principle: Do whatever you want.

But these smooth sayings that sound and feel good are actually lies. A person who once accepted Christ’s gift of salvation can indeed be lost: If “a righteous man turns from his righteousness and commits iniquity … [and] shall die in his sin, … his righteousness which he has done shall not be remembered” (Ezekiel 3:20). The angel told Mary that Jesus would save us from our sins (Matthew 1:21); He “bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness” (1 Peter 2:24). And sadly, there will be some lost in the final judgment: They will “come forth—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation” (John 5:29); “some to everlasting life, some to shame and everlasting contempt” (Daniel 12:2).

These are only a few of the many Bible verses teaching the clear truths about salvation. Yet those who are supposedly preaching from the very same Word are telling their flocks the opposite. “Those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple” (Romans 16:18). Those who make an idol of appetite are actually doing the work of Satan, the father of lies (John 8:44).

When Evil Becomes Good

It has been said, “A lie can travel halfway around the world while truth is putting on its shoes.” We are living in a world in which people would rather hear a lie that suits their own fancy than the truth which doesn’t. The Bible foretold this would happen: “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables” (2 Timothy 4:3, 4).

So we see that the “easy” life leads to one of self-indulgence. And what is at the end of that road? It’s on the horizon today, a vehement voice taking the world by storm. It is the voice of “those who call evil good, and good evil” (Isaiah 5:20), of those who “say, ‘Everyone who does evil is good in the sight of the LORD, and He delights in them’” (Malachi 2:17). Have you seen it? Have you experienced it? Have you heard it?

It’s the voice that suggests that obedience to God is legalistic and calls those who follow Him intolerant, haters, and bigots, that “[thinks] it strange that you do not run with them in the same flood of dissipation, speaking evil of you” (1 Peter 4:4). Most concerning, this voice is often proceeding from professed Christians. These are the ones the Bible calls “a rebellious people, lying children, children who will not hear the law of the LORD; who say to the seers, ‘Do not see,’ and to the prophets, ‘Do not prophesy to us right things; speak to us smooth things, prophesy deceits’” (Isaiah 30:9, 10).

Yet this is nothing new. Throughout history, the lives of those surrendered to the will of God have rebuked ease-lovers, provoking them to murderous rage—“righteous Abel” (Matthew 23:35), faithful Stephen (Acts 7:51–58), the stalwart John the Baptist (Mark 6:17–19), and most of all Jesus Christ Himself (John 8:45–59).

Are we seeing the tide of persecution rising once more? “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21); what you love, you will protect. How much do people love that “easy” life? Are they willing to die for it? To kill for it? Paul asked, “Have I therefore become your enemy because I tell you the truth?” (Galatians 4:16).

Preach the Word

Yes, it is a hard fact that “all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12). But, friend, this does not excuse us from our high and worthy calling to proclaim “the everlasting gospel” (Revelation 14:6). God says, “I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; therefore you shall hear a word from My mouth and warn them for Me” (Ezekiel 33:7). We are charged: “Cry aloud, spare not; lift up your voice like a trumpet; tell My people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins” (Isaiah 58:1).

Let us be as Micaiah, that courageous prophet of God in the time of Ahab, king of Israel. Micaiah alone stood fearlessly against a throng of 400 false prophets. Despised by Ahab “because he [did] not prophesy good concerning [the king], but evil” (1 King 22:8), the prophet nonetheless boldly declared, “As the LORD lives, whatever the LORD says to me, that I will speak” (v. 14).

Our duty is to tell the truth from the Word of God, whatever the consequences may be. “Preach the word!” (2 Timothy 4:2). Today’s false prophets have turned the Bible into a consumer gadget to be used for our convenience. But the Word of God does not pander to the deceitful human heart (Jeremiah 17:9). “The word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12); it is meant to transform. And it is to be more precious to us than political correctness, than popularity, than our rights.

One Christian author summed it up: “The greatest want of the world is the want of men—men who will not be bought or sold, men who in their inmost souls are true and honest, men who do not fear to call sin by its right name, men whose conscience is as true to duty as the needle to the pole, men who will stand for the right though the heavens fall” (Education, p. 57).

Saving Truths

Just as important—though often overlooked—is how we tell the truth. Do we rebuke with the aim of proving a brother or sister wrong, to make ourselves feel or look better? If we do, then we are just like those who lust after the “easy” life. No! We are instructed: “If a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness” (Galatians 6:1). True Christians are always “speaking the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15), ever representing Jesus, who said, “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten” (Revelation 3:19). The motive makes all the difference.

[PQ HERE] God’s motive is love. God rebukes you because He loves you; and because He loves you, He has saved you (Ephesians 2:4, 5). Said the Lord to smooth-talking prophets, “With lies … you have strengthened the hands of the wicked, so that he does not turn from his wicked way to save his life” (Ezekiel 13:22, emphasis added). The purpose of rebuking sin with truth is to save life. It is not to win an argument—but to win souls to God’s kingdom!

Our conduct must have this same imprint, always keeping in mind that an individual’s eternal destiny is at stake. “Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful” (Proverbs 27:6).

But take care: Neither should we count ourselves exempt from getting caught up in this lifestyle of ease. The same Scriptures apply to us. How will we respond when shown our sins of reckless leisure, forbidden pleasure, and lazy craving for convenience? Will we repent and humble ourselves before an Almighty God, or will the persecuted become the persecutor?

The “Other” Sin of Sodom

Jesus foretold that conditions in the world before His return would be similar to the time of Lot, who lived in Sodom (Luke 17:28–30). While “sexual immorality” was one of the Sodomites’ obvious sins (Jude 7), it was not the only one for which they were judged.

Ezekiel tells us that they were preoccupied with a selfish love of leisure: “Look, this was the iniquity of your sister Sodom: She and her daughter had pride, fullness of food, and abundance of idleness; neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy” (Ezekiel 16:49).

Is this not a parallel to Laodicea, the church of the last days? “You say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked” (Revelation 3:17). Soothing lies have cocooned a people who think they are safe and secure. In reality, they are in a fatal free fall. The “easy” life makes just one thing easy: buying a one-way ticket to the grave.

God warns us, “Do not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you. … They speak a vision of their own heart, not from the mouth of the LORD. They continually say to those who despise Me, ‘The LORD has said, “You shall have peace”’; and to everyone who walks according to the dictates of his own heart, they say, ‘No evil shall come upon you’” (Jeremiah 23:16, 17). How wrong they are, “for when they say, ‘Peace and safety!’ then sudden destruction comes upon them. … And they shall not escape” (1 Thessalonians 5:3).

And neither will those who believe their lies. There is a fast-approaching final judgment that will cause the “sudden destruction” of all those cherishing their easy-breezy platitudes. Our gracious God is asking, “The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests rule by their own power; and My people love to have it so. But what will you do in the end?” (Jeremiah 5:31).

I urge you, friend, to take these four steps to guard against being lured into that easy life of self-destruction:

KNOW the Word: “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15 KJV). Instead of feasting on the fast foods of falsehood, find nourishment in the wholesome Word of life.

LOVE the Word: “I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food” (Job 23:12). Instead of becoming addicted to the fanciful and fictitious, learn not to live without the law of God.

FOLLOW the Word: “I delight to do Your will, O my God, and Your law is within my heart” (Psalm 40:8). Instead of languishing in a Laodicean daze, serve the Lord with all your heart and all your might.

SERVE Your Neighbor: “Share your bread with the hungry[;] … bring to your house the poor who are cast out; when you see the naked, … cover him, and [don’t] hide yourself from your own flesh” (Isaiah 58:7). Instead of serving self, share the love of God with your fellow man.

In doing so, “then your light shall break forth like the morning, your healing shall spring forth speedily, and your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard” (v. 8). You will cease to be the self-gratifying consumer enslaved to your own desires.

Bible truth may hurt now; it may be uncomfortable and require more than just a push of a button—but it is the only way you will ever experience real peace. “My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Matthew 11:30), Christ declared. Will you take Him at His word?


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